Change is Excruciating

I met Argon when I was thirteen. Back then I was a naive thief, a wee hauflin traipsing through the forest acting like I knew how to pick a lock faster than any other thief. I was pretty handy with a sword, better with a dagger, and possessed a silver tongue that could talk me out of a fickle.

While lost in the Caverns of Confusion with my travel-mates, we stumbled upon a young dwarf who turned out to be an explorer from Aruam Castle. He was fairly handsome and I thought, if only he was fifty years younger, I’d give him a whirl. But then again, he was an honourable man and wouldn’t be interested in a common thief.

Still, we hit it off and together we managed to get our small band of explorers safely out of the caves. We parted ways that day on the mountain side, but many times afterwards, our paths crossed. It seemed we were there to aid him in a quest or he appeared to save our butts from an evil wizard or a gigantic toad. Either way, our meetings always ended pleasantly and I grew to admire this dwarf who worked for the castle in my hometown of Maskil. As his experience increased, his rank at the castle also rose.

Thirty years later, I still admire the man who became an intricate part of my life simply by being a friend who showed up out of the blue.

It’s not hard to understand after all this history that Argon would end up in my fantasy novel. After all, he’s the best swordsman and the most honourable man I know. His good looks only add to his charm.Bronwen

Unfortunately, no one will know his true name. I can’t call him Argon though I can’t think of this man by any other handle. The name Argon is too much like an Aragorn who has become famous the world wide. Readers might think I used the name to connect with another fantasy realm, to gather an audience who might think Aragorn, hobbits and such. They’d be wrong.

I met Argon long before I knewn The Lord of the Rings existed. When I did get the book in my hands in the late 1990s, it didn’t grab my attention and about 100 pages in, I put it down, bored, so I didn’t get to meet Aragorn’s character. I didn’t learn of the similar names and the impact of the book on the fantasy genre until about six years ago, long after I had attached myself to Argon.

And then there is the Eragon series.

I’ve struggled with the name change for the past few years. I knew the name had to change to make Argon stand out amongst the Aragorns and Eragons, yet, my love for him and my stubbornness made the name change impossible. The battle raged on. In a sense, it didn’t matter since the manuscript remained unpublished. However, with the scheduled publication of Shadows in the Stone, the name of this beloved dwarf…must…change.

Deep down I knew this day would arrive, so I had gathered names, discarded them all and gathered more. No name could live up to Argon and though I must settle on one, I might never connect with it like I do Argon.

I’m trying. It’s painful. But I’m struggling to adjust with a new friend name. It’s incredibly difficult. And I wonder what Argon will think when he reads Anna kissed Bronwyn. Eek! He might challenge the man to a sword fight.

The Find and Replace option with MS Word makes the name change effortless yet it does not remove the heartache. If only my brain could make the change as easily:

Find: Argon … Replace: Bronwyn.

Have you ever had to change a beloved character’s name from one you loved to one you’ll have to live with?

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4 thoughts on “Change is Excruciating

  1. It is such a difficult thing, trying to change a character name, especially when you feel like they named themselves long before you ever met them. There’s so much personality in a name sometimes… Good luck, Diane.

  2. I haven’t had to do that but it would be very hard. I maybe should have though. My main character in my kids books is Amanda, the name of my second granddaughter. My oldest granddaughter is miffed that I didn’t use her name. Oh dear. I will just have to write another story with Aleasha as the main character one day.

    • A second book would solve the problem and Aleasha would be a great character name. I’ve written (but not published) a book inspired by each of my children. They’ve also influenced characters in my ‘grown up’ novels. For example, the main character in Shadows in the Stone is left-handed like my son. A horse beomes a character is because of my horse-loving daughter, and when the main character says, “You’re not going to turn me into a kitten, are you?” it’s because my other son loves kittens. A piece of many people I know end up in my novels. It’s great fun.

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